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Belize Sea Turtles
Hawksbill, loggerhead and green sea turtles are expected to nest at Turneffe Atoll based on habitat characteristics, and hawksbill turtles are known to feed in Turneffe’s waters. However few biological reports have been published on sea turtle nesting or foraging activities. A 2007 research pilot study concluded that sea turtles are using Turneffe for nesting, while foraging turtles have been documented on Turneffe’s reef.
On this week-long project volunteers will assist the sea turtle researcher with beach surveys to count nesting turtles, and conduct snorkel surveys to locate foraging turtles. This project will help establish the scientific baseline from which rigorous questions can be developed for a proposal to protect nesting beaches and foraging habitat at Turneffe Atoll. Turneffe currently has no permanent, year-round legal protection although such protections have been proposed for over a decade.
A significant amount of time will be dedicated to assessing foraging sea turtle areas by setting up transect sites around Turneffe and conducting systematic snorkel surveys looking for sea turtles.
Volunteers will be trained in both beach surveys for nesting loggerhead turtles, and conducting shallow water snorkel surveys looking for foraging Hawksbill. Loggerhead or Green Turtles
Volunteers stay at the Blackbird Oceanic Field Station offering beachfront cabanas with double occupancy rooms and private baths.
Volunteers will receive daily lectures on general sea turtle biology and ecology, with some free time to swim, snorkel, explore the nature trails and rest up for our field activities. Volunteers will be trained in the various aspects of sea turtle habitat assessment and sea turtle data collection.
Anyone in good health can participate but volunteers should be physically fit and prepared to walk up to two miles a day. Volunteers can choose from various monitoring activities however individuals interested in the in-water surveys must know how to snorkel. The Belize project is a conservation project which attempts to map suitability of nesting and foraging habitat at Turneffe in addition to monitoring sea turtle activities. This conservation project will support local efforts to protect sea turtles.
Belize City/Blackbird Caye.
Day 2 thru 7:
Sea turtle monitoring activities.
Blackbird Caye/ Belize City